Fantastique

It only seems fitting that Tartine is where the local population of the West Village dine.

The little French restaurant sits on a corner surrounded by the townhomes and brownstones that make up the West Village, little blue awnings shading outdoor eaters from the sunlight. The first vision that greets you upon entry is the glass case filled with raspberry tarts and other desserts you’ll have to contain yourself from buying and eating on sight. The place is crowded but in a comfortable, home-sweet-home way. It looks like it was transplanted from the South of France to Manhattan island.

The inside of the restaurant is ocean-themed. Colorful model boats and clay lighthouses perch on shelves above the patrons, and nautical posters and artwork hang on the walls. The cozy restaurant would truly be complete with a view of the sea from its windows. The staff is small and friendly, just like the location itself, and the service is quick despite the crowd. They served us fresh orange juice the instant we were seated. Tartine is the kind of place where you want to stay all day long.

They serve such delicious treats as chocolate croissants or, in my case, apple pancakes. The pancake was thick with cinnamon apple slices baked into it. It had the taste of a mildly-spiced apple pie, with a feel almost like cake in your mouth. It was topped with powdered sugar and is perfectly fine to eat without any syrup, though they do have syrup at the table. The meal is sweet but not overpoweringly so, and the different tastes of the pancake and the apples are well-defined. The pancake part is melt-in-your-mouth soft, contrasting nicely with the more chewy texture of the baked apples. The meal is also rich and filling, but doesn’t sit like a rock in your stomach like other similar meals might. The French have it down to an art when it comes to taste, though the portion sizes at Tartine weren’t exactly French in nature. The serving sizes were generous, with a pancake the size of the plate it rested on or six slices of French toast coupled with a heap of breakfast potatoes covered in hollandaise sauce.

Tartine was an American’s brilliant vision of France. I would go back in a heartbeat.

Allyson Larcom

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